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Are you wondering what to teach a 1 year old?
If you are curious about what to teach a 1 year old, you are in the right spot! Welcome to my corner of the internet! It is no secret that one year olds are busy little bees. They are ALWAYS on the move, and you are probably looking for a great way to captivate their attention while also fostering their development.
As a former educator and a mama of an active toddler, I am always searching for the best way to support my daughter’s growth. Cognitively, emotionally, physically, in every way. So I am sharing the best things you can do to help your little one grow.
Since we are talking about nurturing our children’s development, have you heard of Lovevery? These play kits are literally the best. They target fine motor skills, cognitive development, problem-solving skills, you name it. Your baby will LOVE playing with the toys in these kits. You will also love watching them work hard at mastering the challenges that come along with each toy. I definitely did. If you are looking to find out what to teach a 1 year old, these play kits do an excellent job supporting your child’s development as well as educating you on what your child should be working on based on their age. They are seriously the best thing ever.
This post is all about what to teach a 1 year old.
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So What To Teach A 1 Year Old?
Essential Everyday Skills
1. Practice Following Directions
This is an important skill that your little one will practice for years to come. As a former teacher who has taught all grade levels, I can CONFIDENTLY say this. So, now is a great time to begin practicing following directions. Encourage those little hands to do things like put their toys back in the basket or hand you everyday items like socks and shoes. At this age, your child may very well already follow directions with two related objects. If this is the case, continue to encourage them to practice following directions. These simple activities will go a long way! You will be so thankful later.
2. Daily Routine
Routine is EVERYTHING! If you’re wondering what to teach a 1 year old, implementing a daily routine is CRUCIAL! Young children and older kids benefit greatly from having a routine. If you haven’t already done so, teach your one year old your everyday routine. It will not take your babe a long time to learn the order of different activities that make up their day. Besides being a great activity for what to teach a 1 year old, this will also make life MUCH EASIER!
3. Give Opportunities to Help
Have you noticed how much your baby loves to help? Even if they aren’t the biggest help, give your little one opportunities to help out around the house. Some ideas include helping you fold clothes, clean up toys, or help with cleaning. Let them help you with household items. My daughter LOVES to use the duster to dust the end tables. There are so many different things you can have your toddler help you with. Enjoy this time when they actually WANT to help. This doesn’t last forever.
4. Serving Self
Promote your toddler’s hand-eye coordination by having them self-serve. As a mama, instilling independence is so important to me. As a teacher, I have seen how many children struggle with independence. I started providing experiences to practice independence when she was young. I ask her to feed herself, help with things around the house, carve out time for independent play, and more. Calling all parents of toddlers! Be intentional and foster independence. It will pay off. Promise.
5. Cook Together
I am sure you have already figured out that your toddler is your shadow. They want to join you in everything. EVERYTHING. This is why having this toddler kitchen tower is SUPER necessary. One of the BEST toddler activities is to let them play chef and help you whip up delicious food in the kitchen. This toddler tower is a kitchen staple. Still wondering what to teach a 1 year old? Keep reading!
6. Lovevery Play Kits
No matter how many months old your tot is, there is a play kit for every age. These kits are thoughtfully created to support your child’s development. We started getting these play kits around my daughter’s first birthday, and I honestly wish we introduced them sooner. These play kits cater to your child’s cognitive development. You will quickly notice a HUGE difference between these toys and other toys you have. They actually engage and keep your baby coming back for more. If you want to know what to teach a 1 year old, these play kits also help you learn and plan developmentally appropriate activities for your baby.
(RELATED POST: 27 Toddler Must Haves We Love)
7. Manage Feelings
At this age, little kids struggle with feelings. They deal with so many emotions, that it can be a major obstacle to manage ALL the feelings. Read this book to your favorite little person. This will help them understand all the emotions and feel like they are not alone. This will soon become their favorite book. This is an absolute MUST on the list of what to teach a 1 year old. Managing and regulating emotions will always be an important skill.
During these early years, colors are so fun to spot! There are lots of fun activities to teach colors. One of our personal favorites is to use colored eggs for an egg hunt. It doesn’t have to be Easter to break out the eggs! Simply add some of your toddler’s favorite things or treats to the eggs and have them search for all the treasures. You can do this indoors or outdoors. I like to say things like, “Can you find the blue egg?” or “What color egg did you find?”
Looking for more fun learning activities to teach colors? Your baby will love this button board as much as mine does. This button board comes in the Companion Play Kit, geared for babies 22-24 months old. It comes with different patterns. Your baby will love matching the right color button to the color within the board. This is a really exciting and engaging color activity for kids. It will ALSO help your little darling enhance their fine motor skills.
What’s next on the list of what to teach a 1 year old?
Are you looking for the easiest way to enforce foundational skills? Books! As a teacher with an M.Ed in Reading, I am a HUGE fan of teaching through books. If your kiddo is obsessed with the Very Hungry Caterpillar, like mine is, reading this story to help teach counting is a GREAT idea. We love us some Eric Carle. His genius stories filled with beautiful illustrations make it such a challenge to pick out the best book.
Besides learning through literature, foam letters make practicing counting so much fun. You can practice with your baby in the tub, in the playroom, or even throw them on the water table. Teaching counting just HAD to make it to the list of what to teach a 1 year old.
10. Sensory Play
Sensory play is essential. Do you want to give your baby a great sensory experience? Then you NEED to grab these I Spy Jars. Pick a primary color your child will love and watch them have a ball searching for all the moving objects. This will keep your little one busy FOREVER!
More genius activities for what to teach a 1 year old, please!
Your little darling is working on building their vocabulary. He or she is constantly learning new words. You just wait for their language development to explode! Reading will FOREVER be beneficial. If you haven’t already added reading to your routine, you need to. Reading regularly will give your child a head start and this is a good habit to get into.
If you’re looking for a great addition to your child’s book collection, this is a great one. Your babe will love the push and pull tabs that make dragonflies dance and cubs move.
(RELATED POST: 62 Family Favorite Toddler Christmas Books)
Now for another excellent activity on the list of what to teach a 1 year old.
12. Turn Pages of Books
Encourage your child to engage in story time by turning the pages on their own. This is something my daughter LOVES doing. Of course, you’ll have moments when they try to turn the page too early. This is one of those easy everyday activities that your child will look forward to.
Encourage your toddler to point while reading as well. I will encourage this by saying things like, “Point to the monkey” or “Where are the butterflies hiding?” If you want to know what to teach a 1 year old, engagement is key! Observing what is going on in the pictures will help with your child’s comprehension as well.
(RELATED POST: 62 Family Favorite Toddler Christmas Books)
13. Talk Often
Support your child’s speech development by talking often. You’d be surprised how much your baby will learn simply by watching and listening to you. Have you heard that kids are little sponges? It is so true. This is so easy and one of the best activities on the list of what to teach a 1 year old.
14. Build Sentences
Young toddlers have a lot to say! When you hear them say simple words at this young age, use those words to speak in complete sentences. Don’t underestimate the power of speaking. This is such a great way to enhance your child’s language skills. Ready for more genius activities on the list of what to teach a 1 year old?
15. Sign Language
Simple baby sign language is super beneficial. This will help your baby better communicate with you and eliminate frustration. Teach your baby the signs for common words like please, thank you, more, and water.
Now for even more genius activities on the list of what to teach a 1 year old.
16. Music Play With Pots & Pans
This is a fun activity for younger and older toddlers. Use everyday objects like pots, pans, plastic containers, or even the laundry basket and a spoon to create beautiful music. Of course, you’ll want to ensure these objects are turned upside down before playing.
Did you know that music is a great way to learn about math and build language? By creating beats and engaging in musical activities your child is learning patterns, counting, and rhythm. No need to buy fancy toys and drumsets when you can make your own instrument! Teaching music is a MUST on the list of what to teach a 1 year old.
17. Hokey Pokey
No matter how many months of age your baby is, children of all ages love and appreciate a little song and dance. The Hokey Pokey is also a great way to teach your little one their body parts. Plus, this is also a great opportunity to support physical development. We all benefit from some physical activity. Dancing is a favorite activity among toddlers!
18. Foster Creativity
Are you still wondering what to teach a 1 year old? The arts! Toddlers have big feelings and art is a great way for them to let out their feelings and express themselves. Art helps children learn about the world as well as things like new shapes, colors, as well as sizes. If you are hosting play dates, art is a great way to entertain the littles for hours. Don’t be afraid to add fun objects to the art session. Objects like pom poms, a cardboard box, and pipe cleaners. Sensory play is always a great and entertaining activity for kids.
For some more creative play, teach your babe how to paint. These finger paints are THE BEST! They are made from plants and are EDIBLE. Let’s be real. Kids want to put everything in their mouths.
Water painting is ALSO a great activity. At this age, your child is learning how to keep their marks on a piece of large paper. Learning boundaries and space is easy with painting.
Good news! Here is another great activity to teach your 1 year old. Play-Doh will help enhance fine motor skills and hand and finger strength. As your child grows older, Play-Doh is a great tool for imaginative play. You can make homemade Play-Doh with your little one or buy your own. If you are just introducing Play-Doh to your tot and he or she is hesitant to touch it, help them feel comfortable by showing them how to play with it. Squish and roll it yourself.
For some extra fun, use these fun tools to make fun shapes. Your baby will LOVE using these.
Let’s continue on the list of what to teach a 1 year old.
21. Imaginative Play
Pretend play HAD to make it to the list of what to teach a 1 year old. Especially if your baby will soon be celebrating their second birthday.
Different ways to teach imaginative play:
Let’s find out more about what to teach a 1 year old.
Forget simple puzzles, when you can introduce challenging and engaging ones. We have several puzzles from Lovevery and my daughter really gravitates to them. It took her several interactions before figuring them out. Which is exactly why she likes them so much.
Her absolute favorite puzzle is the Geo Shapes Puzzle, which requires her to cradle and nest complex shapes. This came in the Realist Play Kit. With Lovevery, you can count on your little one to enhance their gross motor skills, and cognitive skills, and play better independently.
Kids develop at different rates, but having toys that are thoughtfully crafted based on what skills should be worked on at each developmental age is so helpful. If you want to know what to teach a 1 year old, challenging puzzles are excellent.
As a former teacher, subitizing is a skill that your child will continue to work on through the years. So around the time your child utters their first words, you’ll want to give your child opportunities to subitize. Subitizing is to understand the amount mentally without counting.
The colored pegs in this play kit are a great opportunity to develop this ability. At this age, your child is beginning to understand quantity. If you add one green peg to a green peg you will have two green pegs.
Teach your child how to sort the colors into groups by color as well as which piles have more and less. Your child will have plenty of time to enhance this skill, but beginning early is essential. Subitizing is a must on the list of what to teach a 1 year old.
24. Social Skills
Giving opportunities to develop social skills is very important. Whether your children are 1, entering their second year of life, or you have a big kid in your house, social skills make life so much more simple.
Here are some things you can do at home to support your baby:
- Play together
- Get your little one involved in a playgroup
- Practice taking turns
25. Mirror Play
Littles LOVE checking themselves out in the mirror. This is a great way to improve your child’s self-awareness. Self-awareness is amazing for their social-emotional development. Have fun with mirror play and ask them to point to their nose, eyes, ears, mouth, etc. Mirror play is a great addition to the list of what to teach a 1 year old.
26. Ball Play
Wondering what to teach a 1 year old that will help with hand-eye coordination? Carve out time for ball play. You can teach your baby to roll the ball back and forth, throw the ball in a bucket, and even kick the ball. Shortly after my daughter took her first step she was all about kicking the ball! I recommend buying balls with different textures. This takes ball play to a whole new level!
27. Water Play
Water play helps develop motor skills as well as sensory exploration. THIS is many babies and toddler’s favorite toy for water play. Including my daughter. Looking for excellent and engaging outdoor activities? This water table is a must-have. Older siblings can also join in on the fun. Now for some more genius ideas for what to teach a 1 year old.
28. Parallel Play
Parallel play is when children are playing independently in the same area. During parallel play, children observe each other and will also imitate their peers. Play dates are great places to encourage parallel play. If you want to read more about parallel play and its benefits, read more about it here. Stick with me for more brilliant activities on the list of what to teach a 1 year old.
During this time, your little darling is learning that certain objects have a purpose. This is exactly why coloring is on the list of what to teach a 1 year old. Markers, pencils, and crayons make colorful marks. Give your baby the opportunity to play with crayons and they will quickly discover the differences in colors and want to create their own pictures.
Did you know between 18 and 24 months your child will be able to mimic you and draw a vertical line? Around 20-24 months they will be able to draw circle scribbles. At 24+ months they will be able to draw horizontal lines. Holding a crayon will help prepare them to eventually learn to write with a pencil.
There are so many simple ways to promote development. THESE crayons are easy for your little one to hold and they’re made of beeswax. They’ll love discovering different colors with these fun and thick crayons.
30. Blow, Track, and Pop Bubbles
Blowing bubbles is a guaranteed good time. At this age, most kids can’t blow bubbles through a bubble wand. However, a bubble pipe is a great alternative. Speech therapists often use these genius products because when we blow we round our lips and put our tongue in the same position to say the /w/, /oo/, and /o/ sounds.
This activity is great for both active play and language development. While blowing bubbles encourage your little cutie to point to the bubbles, which will help develop their visual tracking and concentration skills.
31. How to Plant
Now for one of the greatest ideas on the list of what to teach a 1 year old. Don’t be afraid to get a little messy outside. Teach your little one how to plant as well as nurture a plant. Loosen some soil in a pot or your garden. Have your baby dig in the soil and help you plant seeds. Your babe will enjoy watering and watching the plant grow each day. Planting is SUCH a fun one on the list of what to teach a 1 year old.
This age is so much fun. You will enjoy watching your child’s personality shine. This list of what to teach a 1 year old will keep your baby happy, challenged, and support your child’s development. Out of this list, what was your child’s favorite activity?